The Scout Report -- Volume 13, Number 13

April 6, 2007

A Publication of the Internet Scout Project
Computer Sciences Department, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sponsored by University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries.

Research and Education

General Interest

Network Tools

In The News

Research and Education

Cultural Diplomacy [pdf]

The Demos group in Britain describes itself as the think tank for everyday democracy, and they have published a number of intelligent research reports and briefs as of late. One of their recent reports, released in February 2007, deals with the world of cultural diplomacy. Authored by Kirsten Bound, Rachel Briggs, John Holden, and Samuel Jones, the papers central premise is that the huge global reach and potential of Britains world class artistic and cultural assetsshould be at the heart of government relationship building abroad. Its an interesting concept, and one that is developed over the course of this work through citing specific examples and also by pointing a way to forward efforts in this particular niche of public policy and international relations. [KMG]

Center on Education and Work [pdf]

Established in 1964, The Center on Education and Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison seeks to enhance the quality of career-related learning for all individuals in schools, colleges, and the workplace. From their homepage, visitors can learn about their strategic initiatives and ongoing research projects, which include those on preparing special learners for careers in technology and a set of resources for administrators working in two-year colleges. One of the highlights of the site is the feature, Web Accessibility for All: Failure is Not An Option, located in the Learning Supports: Technology & Special Learners area. Here, visitors can learn about what they can do to create accessible web content for a variety of users via tutorials, tested examples, and a series of interviews with experts. [KMG]

New Jersey Environmental Digital Library [pdf]

Websites that function as clearinghouses of information on a given topic (i.e. animal husbandry, ecology, and so on) have become much more common in recent years, and they can be fine resources for finding specific documents quickly. One such site is the New Jersey Environmental Digital Library (NJEDL). The site brings together materials on New Jerseys environment, most of which is culled from state government agencies, non-profit organizations, research institutes, and academic departments. First-time visitors can just go ahead and type in words to the search engine, or they may want to look at the News and Features area for some of the latest additions. Also, the Past Spotlights area includes direct links to reports on mitigating floods on the Delaware River and Trout in the Classroom: A Guide For Teachers. [KMG]

Introduction to Genetics [Macromedia Flash Player]

Keeping the world of base pairs straight can be a challenge, but fortunately this well-developed introduction to the world of genetics will be a boon to students and those members of the public who are craving a refresher on this exciting area of science. Created by GlaxoSmithKline, the site includes a number of interactive animations that illustrate the workings of DNA and genes. Along with these animations, visitors can read over brief introductory pieces on mutations and genetic disorders. The site also has a brief multiple choice quiz that users can take after they make their way through the different sections here. [KMG]

Keplers Three Laws of Planetary Motion

Four hundred years ago, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler described his concept of the laws of planetary motion in his work, Astronomia nova. These important laws remain important concepts for students of physics, and those who work with such students will find much of interest on this particular site. Created by David P. Stern (a retired physicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center), the site consists of an overview of Keplers laws, with examples, applications, problems and related history. The material is based on a talk that Stern gave in Maryland, and visitors will find that this resource is both accessible and very thorough. [KMG]

The Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education: Resources

Located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education is primarily interested in creating resources for educators working on these topics. First-time visitors should definitely start by looking through the Resources area, as they will find classroom tested exercises that cover basic topics in algebra, trigonometry, and a number of related fields in math. Moving along, the site also features teaching modules that will help educators explain different concepts in technology, which can be most useful, particularly for beginning students. Finally, if visitors to the site have questions, there is a contact form and a place to make suggestions about material that might be covered in future projects and modules. [KMG]

Ohio History

Are you looking for an article about Horace Mann and Antioch College? Perhaps you would be interested in a piece of scholarship dealing with public housing in Cleveland? Both of these topics can be found between the digital pages of the journal, Ohio History, which is offered at no charge, courtesy of the Ohio Public Library Information Network. Over the past several years, they have worked to digitize issues of the journal dating back to June 1887. This site contains all of the issues up to the Winter-Spring 2004 edition, and visitors will enjoy browsing through this publication at their leisure. Amidst all of the 53,000 pages of digitized text, visitors will have no trouble finding articles that suit their particular interest within the world of historical scholarship on all things Ohio. [KMG]

Physics 620D: Electricity, Teacher Investigations

Stephen T. Thornton, a professor in the department of physics at the University of Virginia, has created this website to bring together a number of lesson plans for teachers in the field. Within this Teacher Investigations section of the site, visitors can look over three different classroom activities. The investigations include explorations into the world of light bulbs, the workings of circuits, and so on. Each activity includes a number of helpful diagrams, instructions, and questions for group discussion. Additionally, the site contains a list of recommended readings for physics teachers. [KMG]

General Interest

American Planning Association [pdf]

The discipline and practice of planning includes physical design, economic development, and a myriad of other specialties. The American Planning Association (APA) is perhaps the best known organization in the United States, and their website contains some very fine resources for those already in the field as well as for those who would like to join the field. On the sites homepage, visitors can learn about upcoming conferences and workshops, learn about joining the APA, and also read recent news updates about various aspects of planning. While not all of the materials are available to non-members, visitors should definitely look over the APA Advocate, which is their bi-weekly newsletter that addresses legislative and policy issues that directly affect planning. Perhaps one of the best general-purpose areas of the site is the Your Community section. Here, visitors can learn about their Green Communities initiative, view a set of resources designed to teach children about planning, and read about National Community Planning Month. [KMG]

Federal Judicial Center [pdf]

Created by an act of Congress in 1967, the Federal Judicial Center has served as a clearinghouse of information about the federal court system for four decades. While the Center is physically based in Washington, DC, their website brings information about the court system, its history, and its judges to any interested parties with access to the Internet. From their homepage, visitors can go straight to one of the primary sections, which include Federal Judicial History, Publications & Videos, and Educational Programs & Materials. In the Publications & Videos area, visitors can use the search engine to look for specific items of interest, or they can also browse the archives contents by subject or by date of publication. Recent additions have included the updated second edition of the copyright law statutes to the proceedings of a roundtable discussion on the use of technology to facilitate appearances in bankruptcy proceedings. For most visitors, the Federal Judicial History will be of greatest interest, as it contains biographies of federal judges since 1789, the histories of individual courts, and summaries of landmark decisions. [KMG]

UNICEF Video/Audio [Real Player]

UNICEF is known throughout the world for their focus on the health, education, equality and protection of children. They produce a number of helpful research reports and policy briefs, and as visitors to this site will find out, a good deal of audio and visual material in the form of podcasts, video news reports, and radio programs. Visitors to the UNICEF Radio area will find a wide range of radio reports on topics such as Nigerias efforts to contain outbreaks of avian influenza and the effects of floods in Mozambique on children. Visitors interested in podcasts will be impressed with the offerings here, as they include over one hundred total archived programs, and visitors can also sign up to receive each new addition to this collection. [KMG]

The University of Chicago Library Map Collection

Designed to serve the needs of the University of Chicago community and its many visiting scholars, the University of Chicago Map Collection contains approximately 420,000 maps, 10,000 air photos, and 2000 books. While only a small fraction of these materials can be found on this site, scholars and members of the general public will be delighted to learn that many maps that document the changes across the city of Chicago are available here. These digitized maps are primarily divided into chronological groupings, including Chicago in the 1890s and Chicago 2000 Census Maps. Here, visitors can view maps of the Columbian Exposition of 1893, a map of the business center of the city from 1905, and a detailed map of the city that shows the land values for each square mile in 1873. [KMG]

What Lived With Sue? [Macromedia Flash Player]

A few years back, a team of intrepid paleontologists came across the bones of a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex in South Dakota. The dinosaur became known as Sue, and visitors to the Field Museum in Chicago have flocked to see her remains for the past seven years. This website, created by the Field Museum, allows visitors to learn about the other species roaming around South Dakota at the same time as Sue, some sixty-seven million years ago. Using this interactive exhibit, visitors can explore the dig site where Sue was discovered, and learn about some of her contemporaries, such as the Thescelosaurus and Hadrosaur, both ornithopods (bird-footed) dinosaurs. Overall, the site is a great way to learn about the very interesting world in which Sue lived, and it is also a visually stimulating and engaging experience. [KMG]

Hoover Institution: Policy Review [pdf]

Based at the Hoover Institution since 2001, Policy Review has been around for over a century, and is edited by Tod Lindberg. The journal is based in Washington, DC, and visitors with a penchant for dialogues about politics and policy will enjoy browsing through issues here. Visitors can start by looking at the current issue, or they can browse past issues by topic, author, or date. The topical list is quite extensive and it includes such areas as tax policy, terrorism, world leaders, post-secondary education, and gender issues. The site also features a number of web-only articles, such as Clausewitz in Wonderland and Extremism, Terror, and the Future of Conflict. Finally, visitors can also find out which articles have been emailed, printed, and viewed most frequently. [KMG]

On Point [Real Player, Windows Media Player]

The host of WBURs program, Tom Ashbrook, was brought to radio by the attacks of September 11, 2001, and he has distinguished himself by bringing introspective and thought-provoking conversations to the events of the day from around the world. The program is broadcast from Boston, and the show can be heard on this website as well. Visitors to the site can explore the expansive archive here, which includes stories on soul singer Irma Thomas, the age of Prohibition and its effects on New York, and the future of American exports. The site also has the Radio Diaries section, which features Colin Powell offering commencement remarks at Marymount University and an in-depth profile of David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. [KMG]

Gift of the Indus: The Arts and Culture of Pakistan [Macromedia Flash Player]

Gift of the Indus: The Arts and Culture of Pakistan, presented by ARTSEDGE, the Kennedy Center's arts education network, introduces the arts and culture of Pakistan to young people and teenagers in the US, Pakistan, and all over the world, in the hope of fostering greater understanding. The site has three broad sections: The Nation, with information about the people and the land; Culture & Daily Life; and Arts of Pakistan, the most extensive section, encompassing music, theater, dance, and the visual arts. Video is used extensively on the site; allowing visitors to watch both folk and classical dance, see masters and students creating Arabic calligraphy, or sculptors working with wood, glass, and metal. There is also a weblog called Mehfil: A Gathering Place, a "one-year experiment in cultural conversation" constructed to allow teens to communicate while protecting their privacy. [DS]

Network Tools

FotoTagger 2.3

Placing ordinary photos online for friends and family is rather twentieth century, so users may want to take a quick glance at the various options offered by FotoTagger 2.3. With this application, users can add embedded comments on the photos such as This is where Tycho Brahe slept, and so on. Additionally, the program allows users to create photo blogs, and upload and download photographs to Flickr accounts with all of these wonderful captions preserved intact. This version is compatible with computers running Windows 2000 and XP. [KMG]

WeatherSnitch 1.2.0

Whether we like it or not, the weather is always changing, and during spring, it can change within a matter of minutes. Visitors with a deep and abiding interest in the fickleness of weather can keep track of these conditions with WeatherSnitch 1.2.0. This tiny application provides five-day forecasts, and can be customized to display meteorological conditions in multiple zip codes and locations. This version is compatible with computers running Mac OS X 10.4 and newer. [KMG]

In The News

High-speed train sets new speed record in France

French set new rail speed record

Aboard the fastest TGV in the world

French Excellence in Very High Speed Rail: Alstom, RFF, SNCF [Macromedia Flash Player]

Under the Hood of a TGV

TGV Historic Photos

The True Experiences of Officer Harold Sewell [Real Player]

In many parts of the world, trains whisk passengers from city to city quickly. This past Tuesday, a high-speed train moved a group of people very quickly through the French countryside, and along the way, it broke the world speed record for conventional rail trains. Powered by two engines, this TGV (an acronym for high-speed train in French), reached 357.2 miles per hour at one point, effectively breaking the previous TGV record set in 1990. Along the way, a television crew caught the train drivers smiling as they realized they had broken the record, and spectators cheered and clapped as the train rushed by. TGV trains have been in service since 1981, and they generally travel at about 186 miles per hour, but starting in June they will be allowed to travel at approximately 200 miles per hour on the Paris to Strasbourg line. After the demonstration was completed, French President Jacques Chirac commented, Economically efficient and respectful of the environment, the TGV is a major asset in efforts to ensure sustainable development in transport. For the future, the hope is that TGV trains will be purchased in China, South Korea, Taiwan, and potentially California. [KMG]

The first link for visitors leads to a piece from the BBC News about the recent speed record, complete with footage of the trip. The second link will lead users to an article from the Times Ben Webster, who was onboard during Tuesdays record-setting trip. Moving along, the third link leads to the webpage created by the trains manufacturers (the Alstom company) that provides a behind-the-scenes video, safety information, and a glimpse into the trains workings. For those who love to know about the operations of these mighty machines, the fourth link will be a real find. Offered by TrainWeb, this site details the various workings of the TGVs power electronics, including the main transformer and the thyristor controlled rectifier-bridge. The fifth link whisks users away to a very short film from 1938 that tells how one brave officer saved a train from certain disaster with the use of a mere flashlight. The trusty flashlight happened to be powered by Eveready batteries, and the Eveready Corporation sponsored the film. Finally, the last link leads to a nice online collection of different TGV trains in action from the past several decades. [KMG]

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